R is for Running


This is a late post but a Great one! I have my personal Friend Russanna here to share with us a little bit about running. Help us get off the couch Russanna!

Hello all! I'm Russanna from See Russanna Run. I'm fairly new to the blogging world. I began blogging as a way to track my running progress, but discovered I love to blog and write about much more than that. In fact, I rarely blog about running these days!  If you get a chance, hop on over to my site and check it out. Now lets talk running...

     You know those people you always see running down the side of the road? They’re the ones with the shiny, reflective shoes and the fancy moisture wicking running apparel. They almost always have an ipod and they make running look like it is the easiest thing in the world. I always dreamed of becoming one of those people. What could be so difficult about running? 

     I ran track for a couple of years in high school. Granted, I ran the mile. The mile is typically the event that the track team misfits get to do. You know – the ones who aren’t fast enough for sprinting and not tough enough for cross-country. There was only one problem with my dream - I hated running. I hated exercise really. No matter how hard I tried, I could not motivate myself to begin any kind of exercise regimen. That changed when my husband and I signed up for a free health check as part of his employer’s insurance program. My health check came back showing that I had very high levels of cholesterol, which isn’t exactly normal for a 27 year old. The doctor said that all I needed to do was exercise to get those levels down. I was determined to get myself in gear. Being too cheap to pay for a gym membership,  my only option for a real cardiovascular workout had to be running.

     Since we live in a running community, it seemed everyone I knew was entering 5k races. I had to google 5k to even see how much that was. 3.1 miles seemed pretty daunting when I knew I couldn’t even run a full track lap. I’d heard of 5k training programs on some blogs and came across one I’m sure many of you know: the Cool Running Couch Potato to 5k program. It alternated running and walking and slowly built up to a 5k. Surely I could run for 90 seconds. So, I picked a start date and recruited a partner. I told just about everyone I knew that I was going to run a 5k. This surprised everyone who knew me because they knew I had an aversion to physical activity. Accountability anyone? I knew if I told the world I would do this, there was no way I was backing down. 

     So, three 5ks later, I did it. I met my goal and running has become a bigger part of my life than I ever thought possible. Although I don’t always feel like running, I know it is good for me. Trust me, I’m still surprised I can easily run one mile, let alone an average of three. During those first few weeks of running, 90 seconds seemed nearly impossible. Five minutes seemed even harder and I almost threw up when I saw I was going to have to run twenty minutes without a break. But it IS possible. It is hard, but it is possible. If I can do it, I believe anyone can. People often ask how I became a runner.

 Here are my best beginner tips:
My Tried and True Running Shoes

1. Set a goal. What is your ultimate goal? Is it to run a race for a cause? Is it to run a certain distance or to get in shape? Is it to run to that mailbox that’s three yards away? Without a goal, you will dread running. You need something in sight.  If it is to run a race or a certain distance, set a date. This will help you stay on target, knowing a date to reach that goal is looming.

2.  Recruit a partner! Accountability is key. I would have skipped running so many mornings if someone wasn’t waiting on me to run with them. Backing out is much more difficult when you have to explain it to someone.

3. Drink as much water as possible and sleep! These two factors are invaluable when it comes to any physical activity. I need a minimum of 70 ounces of water a day and around eight hours of sleep each night. This will vary for everyone but make sure you are taking care of these two things.

4. Shoes! Ladies, there is never a better reason to buy new shoes! Your old beat up tennis shoes will hurt your feet and cause injuries. You need new, solid running shoes. Don’t be afraid to go to a fancy running store and get some advice on what is best for your feet. Then, check online to see if you can find it cheaper. Most of my shoes come from Famous Footwear and have been great.

5.  Don’t worry about speed. As someone who runs a twelve minute mile most days, speed should not be a concern for a beginner. Once you’re running consistent mileage and have been running for several months, you can work on speed training. The point right now is just to start running. And believe me – there will ALWAYS be someone slower than you on race day.

6.  Follow your training program. It is very tempting to push yourself beyond what a training guide recommends, but that can also cause injuries. Even if you’re feeling great, stay where the training guide tells you. These guides work for a reason!

7. Fire up the i-pod. Music can make a huge difference for a runner. Listen to upbeat, motivating music while you run. As much as I love Norah Jones, she doesn’t exactly boost momentum.

8.  Reward yourself. Treat yourself to something special once you meet your goals, whether it’s a pedicure, a massage, or a new outfit. You’ve earned it!

9. Stretch! Stretching can make a big difference for runners. Be sure and stretch before AND after you run.

10.  Rest. Running is a slow progression. Don’t kill yourself too quickly. Allow for rest days and listen to your body. If you are extremely sore, give yourself a day off and start again the next day. Most training programs have built in rest days and I wholly recommend following those.

And one last piece of advice: don’t judge your progress by weight loss. Running is about being healthy and in shape. You will lose inches but not necessarily weight. Judge your progress by how you feel! Even though your heart feels like it is going to explode out of your chest and your legs feel as if they are made of wood, it won’t always be that difficult! If you stick with it, you will be one of those people dodging traffic on the side of the road too! Try to start off each day being thankful for the ability to run. That has made a huge difference for me.  I hope that some of you will be inspired to begin running! Miss Mukweto was a key person that inspired me since she’s always been a motivated runner. 

And PS – I just had a physical in February and guess what – my cholesterol is within normal range. Guess that means I can eat more oreos!

Ha ha! I'm in for a night of girl time and ores! Thanks Russanna for sharing with us. I think it's time for me to dust off my running shoes and start getting back into high school track shape! 
Who is with me!?

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